In the initial yr or so after Lexi taught me to solder, when I even now did not do it quite frequently, I experienced a several little capture phrases or mantras that I’d use to remind myself of tips and methods on how to solder. The major a single Lexi taught me was “solder flows toward heat.” It aided me keep in mind wherever to goal my torch, primarily when working on a massive piece, as nicely as in which to place my solder in relation to a seam prior to I commenced.
Lexi also reminded me of her 5 regulations or ways of soldering: In good shape. Cleanse. Flux. Solder Placement. Heat. I acknowledge that I never thoroughly clean my steel (and in particular not my solder wire) well plenty of, so this is 1 mantra I require to preserve repeating!
Now, though the soldering system is very substantially second nature to me, I however find myself repeating some of those minor mantras when I operate, particularly when I have issues hoping to solder a be a part of or approaching how to set it up.
9 Guidelines on How to Solder
Listed here are nine soldering recommendations and mantras I’ve gathered by way of the yrs that help me recall right solder protocol.
1. You want solder to movement up a seam, not just soften.
Remember that the flame from the torch doesn’t “melt” the solder–the flame heats the metallic, and that warmth leads to the solder to flow wherever you want it. Do not technique a solder seam with the intent of just melting your solder or you will probably do it improper.
2. Solder will not fill gaps.
Ends have to meet up with properly for solder to move up the seam. If you do deal with to get plenty of solder to movement and fill a hole, it will be a weak sign up for and you will probably get an additional probability to try it again afterwards.
3. Flux usually takes out the guess operate.
Check out for the flux to turn very clear and glassy beneath your flame that’s when you know you’re at about 1,100°F degrees and your solder will quickly move. You’ll see a shiny silver line show up when the solder flows–stop then, you’re accomplished!
4. Set the solder under the seam.
I know Lexi doesn’t like 3rd palms, so as her faithful pupil, I wasn’t fascinated in them both. I just position solder underneath the seams that I’m soldering and warmth the metal the bodyweight of the piece retains the solder from blowing off from the drive of the flame and the solder flows appropriate up the seam.
Even so . . . see amount 5.
5. Soldered joins require guidance.
There are some instances when a small little bit of rigging with binding wire or T-pins is required to keep a piece alongside one another tightly throughout soldering. A further options is to carve out a keeping place in my firebrick to produce the set up. But I have generally managed to do it with out a 3rd hand! Nickels also make handy supports and weights to raise up, keep collectively, or hold down pieces throughout when you solder them.
6. Take away solder absent incorrect with equipment.
If you accidentally solder two chain one-way links jointly or solder a stray piece of steel wherever it does not belong, Lexi suggests to get ready a sharp, clean up solder pick and frivolously warmth the offending seam. Then adhere the decide in the seam or amongst the joins and pull them apart. I’ve experienced accomplishment acquiring molten solder to “jump” on to a heated choose, way too.
7. Solder on an elevated tripod.
If you do torch enameling on a tripod, you could possibly have found this a person already. A equivalent strategy is also helpful for soldering. It will allow you to heat delicate steel pieces and joins from underneath (these as heating back again plates of bezels) or if you panic melting a piece or the flame blowing off the solder.
8. Solder wire needs to be clear.
Don’t cut much more pallions of solder than you are going to use at a time, because it is substantially easier to clean when it’s nevertheless in wire sort than in little small squares! I generally fail to remember to clear my solder wire mainly because I commonly use paste solder.
9. Solder cleanly on a clean up surface area.
When your fireplace brick will get burnt up, dirty, and crusted in flux, Helen Driggs endorses scrubbing all of that mess off on a concrete sidewalk or driveway to expose a clear like-new surface.
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Pictures courtesy of Lexi Erickson
Initially posted 11/7/2014. Current 6/8/2022.
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